MITT ROMNEY: “Every time you have an occasion to take something from the federal government and send it back to the states, that’s the right direction. And if you can go even further, and send it back to the private sector, that’s even better. Instead of thinking, in the federal budget, what we should cut, we should ask the opposite question, what should we keep?”
DEBATE MODERATOR JOHN KING: Including disaster relief, though?”
ROMNEY: We cannot — we cannot afford to do those things without jeopardizing the future for our kids. It is simply immoral, in my view, for us to continue to rack up larger and larger debts and pass them on to our kids, knowing full well that we’ll all be dead and gone before it’s paid off. It makes no sense at all.
— Republican primary campaign debate last year
Slate’s Matthew Yglesias points to that today andcomments:
More prosaically, though the Romney campaign was understandably circumspect over the weekend about his spending plans the fact is that his overall budget requires sharp cuts in everything. The central issue is that Romney wants to cap government spending at 20 percent of GDP while boosting military spending to 4 percent of GDP and leaving Social Security harmless. That means a 34 percent across-the-board cut in other programs according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Unless, that is, Medicare is also exempted from the cuts in which case you’d need a 53 percent cut. …
If a storm damages basic physical infrastructure (power lines, bridges) and imperils human life it would be the height of penny-wise, pound-foolish thinking to suppose that the afflicted area should wait months or years to repair the damage. Ultimately, anyplace is going to go back to robust wealth creation faster if basic stuff gets fixed up faster. But that requires financing by an entity capable of rapidly financing expensive projects—i.e., the federal government. Left to its own devices a storm-ravaged Delaware or Louisiana is going to be squeezed between balanced budget rules and falling sales tax receipts and be forced into an increasing state of dilapidation.
How about a storm-ravaged Florida? According to current polls, slightly more than half of Florida voters want their state to take over disaster relief, at least until arrangements can be made for the private sector to take it over.
And, about that question Romney asked: What should we KEEP? Well, in addition to the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy and defense spending for private contractors, what DOES Romney think we should keep?
We cannot – we cannot afford to do things like disaster relief without jeopardizing the future of our kids. We CAN, though, afford to give massive additional tax cuts to the wealthy, and huge additional contracts to Republican defense contractors, without jeopardizing the future of our kids. Right?
What’s truly unconscionable is that it’s taking Hurricane Sandy to educate the public about the plans Romney and Ryan have stated so clearly. I’ve been utterly unable to understand why the Obama campaign hasn’t been running video clips of Romney’s primary-campaign statements as the foundation of their ads. I’ve thought all along that this is all Obama would need to do in order to win. I think Sandy will prove me right.
And, here’s a shout-out to New York Time columnist Bill Keller for exposing for the absurd myth that it is the punditry’s “in” refrain that we don’t know what either of the two candidates would use the office to do in the next four years, because, well, neither has specified sufficiently. As Keller says, actually both have specified sufficiently.
And Romney’s already begun to reverse-sketch his etchings. Suffice it to say that he’s not spent the last week promising “BIG CHANGE” because he plans to etch out of his sketch all those primary-campaign promises.